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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 June, 2003, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Grant pays for costly Elton dinner
Hugh Grant
Grant contributed 200,000 to the fund
Hugh Grant and a businessman have paid 390,000 between them to dine with Sir Elton John.

The Four Weddings and a Funeral actor was at an auction during Sir Elton's annual White Tie and Tiara ball, which was held at the singer's mansion, near Windsor, Berkshire.

The lot gave the highest bidder the chance to invite 10 friends to the dinner party, hosted by Sir Elton and his partner, David Furnish.

Grant agreed to up the ante to 200,000, if the rival bidder, who is not being named, promised to pay his 190,000 offer too.

The auction - which included a Bentley Continental that fetched 320,000 - raised 930,000 in total for Sir Elton's Aids charity, the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Sir Elton John
Sir Elton was "delighted" with the auction
Sir Elton's spokesman Paul Carey said: "The bid for the dinner started at around 5,000 but went up and up and up.

"Hugh came in at about 150,000 and this businessman eventually offered 190,000.

"Other bidders had dropped out by then. The auctioneer went back to Hugh, and said 'It's over to you, will you give 200,000?'

"Hugh sat there and mulled it over for a couple of seconds. Then he said 'I'll give 200,000 if you give 190,000 and we'll split the amount of guests between us'."

He added that Sir Elton was "delighted" with the result of the auction.

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